George O'Reilly
George O’Reilly

By Pastor George O’Reilly
Transitional Conference Leader

Inspiration. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really need some. You see, most of the time I’m a pretty much a “keep on keeping on” kind of person. And that can be good, since that often seems like what I need to do, just keep moving. If I name it “persistence,” that gives this mode of living some stature, I suppose. But it isn’t really very exciting at times.

Inspiration is what I often need to give life not just excitement but the joy that transforms it from the mundane to the satisfying, from the ordinary to the marvelous. As I ponder the days of this Holy Week (which this year has come upon me unexpectedly, I admit), I find myself pondering the theme of Inspiration.

The stories of the final week of Jesus’ earthly life are saturated with inspiration — the breaking in of the power and blessing and joyfulness of the acts of the Spirit. Just imagine the change of emotion in the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Just ponder the bewilderment and resistance changed to that overwhelming joy thrust upon Thomas at the challenging invitations of Jesus. Think of the indignation of the women discovering the violation of the tomb and the shocking declaration of the angel that Jesus is not here!  And picture the mixture of incredulity and wonder of John and Peter, who, having been wrenched out of their despair, run to the tomb in response to the transformation in the women who come to them in the upper room.

All these stories, though so often heard, bring to us remarkable inspiration. But perhaps for our place in the story we may need most to hear the words of Jesus from John 20:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” — John 20:19-22  NIV

In these words along with those early disciples we are invited to receive not only the inspiration of the stories but actually the very breath of God, the wind of creation, the essence of the inspiration of Jesus in his own earthly journey of both victory and trial. We are invited as well to join the very endeavor of the Father as the “sent one” sends us as the body of Christ to fulfill the ministry of Christ in creation!

Such “inspiration” goes beyond the exciting to the profound, and pondering this we can find whatever resource we might ever need to fulfill our calling as ones sent by Jesus!

So this Holy Week let me wish for you “Inspiration!” Hallelujah, He is risen, he is risen indeed!